Porn addiction ministry helps men find freedom

Dan Gowe, here with his wife Fran, is a lay minister who has devoted himself to helping men break free of addiction to pornography.

In 2013, Dan Gowe did an anonymous survey with a group of 18 to 25 year old men at a local evangelical church. Eighteen of the 20 men admitted to having a problem with pornography. Similar surveys have shown that over half the adult men in many congregations have this problem to some degree.

Gowe’s Seeds of Hope ministry is based out of West Point Grey Baptist Church. A group of men meets there, while others gather at Granville Chapel, Redemption Church, Tenth Church, Berea Baptist Church, Westside Church and above a bakery in Pitt Meadows.

The problem of porn

To look at porn is sexual idolatry. It is extremely addictive and spiritually corrosive. The mind becomes full of sordid images that torment, and the consequences are severe and increase as time goes on. On a personal level, the porn-addicted person lives with a tremendous amount of shame, fear of exposure, fear of judgment and a horrible compulsive desire that makes stopping near impossible. On a relational level, consequences include hearing the heart-rending cries of a betrayed loved one and a breaking down of marriages. Some even end up breaking laws and are met with a visit from the police.  

The importance of hope

There are men in every church in Vancouver who simply do not know that there is a place they can go to find help in overcoming porn addiction. Upon showing this short video of testimonies at a local church, we were immediately contacted by men eager to get clean. 

The majority of men don’t know it is possible to become ‘clean’ and stay clean, in Jesus name. They have been without hope that they could be free from habitual porn use. Most people have not heard the testimonies of those who have broken the cycle, and when they do hear them hope swells up and they begin to take the first steps toward a life of purity.

Three-fold cord not easily broken

Weekly, prayerful, God focused groups led by those that are staying clean are making a difference in Vancouver. It’s a place for newcomers to confess if they need to and be reassured that “His mercies are new every morning”.

Many of the leaders of these groups have been porn-free for years – a powerful example for others to follow. Hope grows that they too can be free from pornography. Those whose relationship with God has been damaged through sexual immorality are beginning to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.

For some, this is the very first time. Praying prayers of weekly consecration to God in unison is soul-stirring as is practicing to “Renounce (evil thoughts and desires), Announce (that we belong to Christ), and Worship (wilfully choosing to worship Jesus). 

The battle for your mind

The battle for sexual purity begins in the mind, where lustful thoughts first arise. Most people struggling with porn feel they have no control over their thoughts, and therefore their eventual actions. But the truth is God does provide a way of escape that we may be able to bear the temptation and resist.

What is the way of escape? It is resisting the devil by taking every lustful thought captive to the obedience of Christ. This can only be done in faith with the Holy Spirit’s help. We have found this teaching to be true and immensely helpful: winning the battle for the mind. Newcomers to the groups come back with joy as they experience the Holy Spirit helping them to resist sinful thoughts and submit to God.

The power of the Word memorized

In Psalm 119:11 it says “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

It is impossible to overstate the power and blessing of the daily memorization of God’s word. It is another key to overcoming the obsessive thought life of a mind addicted to pornographic images and thoughts. Whether you memorize verses, portions, chapters or whole books, it is rich blessing the day you begin storing God’s word in your heart.

It takes time and effort, but memorizing God’s truths, promises, psalms of praise and warnings begins the process of transforming the mind and heart. By ingesting God’s Word it becomes more deeply internalized and you will begin to sweetly desire the very the promises memorized.

The joy of helping others

When people begin to walk in freedom they discover the wonderful joy of the Word of God speaking to them on a daily basis. It is no longer some grim religious duty but a joy to have a daily prayerful time in God’s Word!

As the days free from porn turn to weeks, then months and years, we have seen many experience a growing joy and peace in the Lord that they have never known. There is then a natural desire to pass on to others what Jesus has done for them; there is great joy in helping a friend in distress find hope in Jesus. Like Paul’s gracious exhortation to help restore a brother or sister in a “spirit of gentleness”, keeping watch on ourselves lest we too be tempted, “bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ”.

Please feel free to pass this hopeful news on to those that may need it. We don’t charge anything for these groups other than Jesus’ verbal charge to “freely give as has been given us.” Pastors or youth leaders would be welcome as guests at a group meeting.

You can reach us at freedomfromporntoday@gmail.com or mensgroup@wchurch.ca. Also to note, a new women’s group is in the works for which we are very excited about!

Additional resources

If you are a leader in the church and want to know how much of a problem porn is among your community, here is a simple survey that we have used.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QFIe48UQ4ZuzM9qCAmJQsIEQoflgndQRMsKykZutFqc/edit?usp=sharing

A person must begin the process of replacing unholy thoughts with Godly ones! The Holy Spirit is quick to affirm your efforts to draw near to Jesus in your thought life. Here are a couple of articles on memorization that will help get you started!

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/memorizing-scripture-why-and-how

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-tips-for-bible-memory

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